COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:

On Oct. 11, The Los Angeles Times reported that Turkey and Armenia “signed a landmark agreement Saturday to establish diplomatic relations and open their sealed borders after a century of enmity.”

The Times article reported that the agreement would need to be ratified by both nations’ parliaments before it would become final.

That sounded like progress to me. However, the day before the article appeared, the Glendale News-Press carried an editorial (“State officials are failing to hold the line,” Oct. 10) criticizing Armenian state officials for agreeing to talks with Turkey because the Turks wanted to form a historical commission to investigate the deaths of more than 1 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The editorial apparently supported the view held by many Armenians living in America that the Turkish government should concede that genocide occurred before Armenia enters into any agreement normalizing relations with Turkey.

Unlike the News-Press editorial staff, I believe that the agreement is reason for celebration and congratulations to Armenians everywhere.

While some Armenians, safe in America, may want their former homeland to maintain a belligerent posture with its most important neighbor, those who live in Armenia are the ones who would face the consequences of continuing failed relations with Turkey.

Obviously, they are the vulnerable ones. As a nation, Armenia may be strong in heart, but it is relatively weak in economic and military power, and potential adversaries surround it on every side.

I know some will say that I, a person with no tie to either Armenia or Turkey, have no business giving an opinion on the relations between the countries. But peace is everybody’s business. To my Armenian friends I offer an opinion, as a disinterested observer, that you should let the historians decide about genocide. After all, their judgment, in the centuries to come, will serve as the ultimate verdict in this matter. Don’t let the genocide issue interfere with peace today. It is time for Armenia to be pragmatic about its relations with her most important neighbor.

Cordial diplomatic relations and an open border with Turkey would be a big step toward improving the security and economic stability of Armenia. Let’s hope that Armenians in our communities refrain from using their influence to try to block ratification of the normalization agreement that has already been signed by the Armenian foreign minister.


 GERRY RANKIN is a Glendale resident.

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